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Comment Re:Do people really take this risk seriously? (Score 1) 236

And mankind's successor will match the same criteria. But there is no guarantee that it will be descended from us, and it will suck if we happen to be the generation that is going to win that lottery ticket.

Yes, the risk is low. We do things to mitigate low-risk things all the time. I also don't think this is going to happen in the next million years (statistically a one in sixty chance). But it behooves us to be able to more accurately gauge that risk. Right now, we can only give a very granular risk assessment. Funding the tracking of large asteroids is worthwhile on a number of levels, the scientific value being one of them. Being able to track rogue comets would be useful, too, but is much harder (and also a lower risk). If we could track these objects, which costs a fair bit of money, we would have a better window to deal with such an event. Like Hawking said, having people on different planets would also mitigate that risk.

I'm confident that life on earth will continue for the next 2 billion years, but I'm selfish enough to want that life to include descendents of humans.

Comment Re:The gold standard for fast, painless executions (Score 1) 591

If they don't go this route, you'll likely see a condemned man struggling to hold his breath as long as he can, trying to avoid death, and eventually losing consciousness, inhaling, regaining consciousness for a moment to flail, and then dying.

I would assume that, in your scenario, the person wouldn't regain consciousness when they start breathing. They would start breathing because they had lost control sufficiently to pass out, would exhale, would inhale a quantity of oxygen-free air, and so would not improve their oxygen levels. They would continue down the path to suffocation. Continuing breathing isn't going to improve their physical state, although it will be less uncomfortable than holding their breath.

Comment Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 579

Okay, let me put it another way. If the model Google was using wasn't broken, and not a practical for security purposes in the real world, then why did they change their design to allow them to update core elements without having to wait for vendors to update their modified versions?

Google's actions make it clear that their design didn't support the business model they promoted.

Comment Re:The problem is the interface (Score 1) 181

In my Firefox install, I have the best of both worlds, assuming you know much about computers. I press the Alt key, all my pull-down menus appear. A couple clicks to do whatever I want. Which just happens to be what Windows Explorer does, as well. Consistent interface, no wasted space, and even the useless stuff is an instant away.

Sure, when you're browsing the web, more screen being used for the pages is good. But don't waste my time by forcing me to use your special interface. I'll lose far more having to learn yet another non-standard interface than I will by losing a 1 cm row of screen space.

Comment Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 579

Except for the part where MS has years where they provide security fixes for a given point release. And MS doesn't stop support for hardware in just a couple years. And your vendor doesn't block you from upgrading to a new point release.

But yes, except for all that, what have the Romans done for us?

Comment Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 579

With respect to the carriers, Google is in a very similar position as Apple. If Apple can do it, there's no reason that Google can't do it. And if Apple can get the carriers to do it, Google could if they tried, too.

Now, I understand there are a few key differences between Apple and Google, two of the most important being that Google isn't the manufacturer and, related to that, that different manufacturers add their own look and feel to Android. But that's a strong indicator that Google needs to change their methodology, to help decouple the OS from the UI. Apparently they've already started this, by bumping OS features into Google Play (which may also be a poor choice), but this only means they're leaving older versions out in the cold.

I use GMail, have an android phone, and use a number of other services that google provides, but they desperately need to get out of the web mindset. Deployment plans that work for a web page don't really work well for an OS, having products in multi-year beta modes, and abruptly dropping support for services are all very upsetting practices that don't work if you want to be integral to people's daily lives.

Comment Re:What a bunch of A-Holes (Score 1) 255

I dream of a world where a law was passed that if a service is used by more than 2/3 of the people, and there is only one provider, it is classified as a utility and regulated under the utility rules. "Oh, you don't want competition? Well, then, here's how much you can charge per month. And don't bother asking if you can raise your prices until next year."

Comment Re:The solution is obvious (Score 5, Interesting) 579

Exactly. I wouldn't blame Google for this, the problem lies with the carriers not upgrading their fleet of phones. Android is now 3 major version releases past 4.3. Would you really expect Microsoft to continue to support Windows XP anymore? They don't, unless business is willing to shell out big bucks for added support.

Carriers should really be to blame.

Two key differences. First, XP came out in 2001. Second, XP support ended last year. But to be fair, I'd be happy if Google would support their OS for even half that long. So, where is that support for Android 1.1?

Realistically, support should last at least as long as the longest contract in the countries their product is used in. If you went with the standard of a 3-year contract (I think there are 4-year contracts, but I'm certain my carrier has 3-year contracts), that would still leave the later releases of Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) under support. Face it, their Android OS support is abysmal.

Comment Re:In inevitable questions of why... (Score 1) 165

This is the single best argument I've seen so far for wireless video. You could conceivably use it without any wires at all attached (especially with a wireless keyboard). And if you needed USB peripherals, you could just connect it to a hub and be up to one wire, just like a regular wired mouse. It doesn't mention having bluetooth, but it's certainly a good candidate for it (or a really small bluetooth dongle).

This needs to be coupled with highly portable displays.

Comment Re:My guess (Score 1) 130

...all those old machines that should have been replaced a few years ago.

Flawed thinking. Why should they have been replaced, if they were meeting all the user's needs, were functioning correctly, and were able to run supported software? For a few percentile performance boost where the majority of time the user is the primary bottleneck? Which is why they weren't replaced, until they should have been (or shortly after).

Comment Re:Stimulation via Content? (Score 1) 88

I also have no problem with pure fun. I don't require chemicals to achieve it, and don't as a general rule frown upon other people doing so - it's their lives and bodies. It doesn't upset me that I don't find the effects of alcohol interesting, although I've had a few on occasion, and it does concern me when people I know can't handle their drug of choice. But this particular one has a real dangerous potential. Single up-front cost, multiple settings, etc. I can see where those who tend towards addiction would have a strong tendency to keep turning up the intensity and get to the state of wireheads in Niven's work. My solution is to let other people test it out and discover the possible negative side effects. As for the benefits, I'm old enough where the big everyday benefits aren't going to have a huge impact on my life, not unlike laser vision correction, but hopefully my children will be able to blast through university with a deeper understanding and less study thanks to tools such as these. Perhaps by that time they'll also have methods of determining safe limits, and my kids will be able to enjoy the synthetic pleasure such tools could provide with no downside.

Comment Re:Stimulation via Content? (Score 2) 88

Or you could use it for other things. For instance, improve your focus so you can work better. Or improve your capacity to learn so that you can spend less time in school to achieve the same results. Or learn more.

Some of us aren't so tied to stimulating our pleasure centers that we don't do anything else. Note the many people who aren't addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs, for instance. These are already simple methods to stimulate your pleasure centers (and other areas) with, frankly, the same potential drawbacks as your average Niven-esque wirehead. Sure, addictiveness may be lower, but that's already the reason I stay away from things like heroin, opium, and meth.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.